Monday, November 23, 2009

Glace Bay Nova Scotia

Last summer, my wife and I and our six dogs took our first long trip with the RV.We went to Canada via VT, NH, ME, NB, NS, QC and ON. While we made good preparations for the trip, we managed to keep our pland flexible enough to allow for changes as we discovered new things to do and places to visit.

After the thrills of driving the Cabot Trail with a 30' RV, certainly one of my high points of the trip, not Kathy's though...

Well, I was cheating a bit, as the Oregon GPS was showing a topo map and I knew what was expecting me well before I reached the next curve...

It was while we were driving that Kathy discovered on her Blackberry that Marconi had a station in Nova Scotia. Once we arrived to our cmground, I investigated a little further and decided I really wanted to see the place. We made sure it would be open when we expected to get there, made a few changes in our plans, and we went to Glace Bay. Here is what we found.


A modest but nice museum commemorating Gulielmo Marconi's work and especially the establishment of his second station from where he communicates across the Atalantic Ocean with his station in Poldhu. While there now is controversy whether Marconi actually heard the letter "S" sent across the Atlantic in Morse code dit-dit-dit, and I won't touch that any further, there is no question that transatlantic transmissions emanated from this station at Glace Bay. The towers were wooden so the only thing that is left from 1901 are the foundations as you can see in the pictures below.


The museum has a nice station and the local ham that was operating it offered to let me use it. I opted to use my own portable station in the RV with my TransWorld antenna. Making contacts was not easy as I was so close to the VE1VAS's yagi antenna, which was transmitting CW at 1KW, but eventually I made a contact with a European station, LY20A from Lithuania. There was an Italian station I really wanted to talk to, as I'm sure an Italian ham would have loved being contacted from that location but unfortunately he went QRT. Here I am, in Glace Bay, with my little portable station in the RV, and with Kenna my yellow lab and Stryder my working SAR dog, a chocolate lab (you can barely see his head at the bottom).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another DXpedition Rapa Nui Easter Island 2009

It is not easy to break in the pile-up that a DXpedition has, especially form a very desirable location. It takes time and patience, especially with a modest station and antenna. I had time to check the island out on Google Earth and boy, it is nice over there.

Today was the first time I heard the signals from XR0Y in Easter Island at a level where I knew I had a chance to make it through. Still, I'm battling big gun stations with mega antennas and amplifiers. The operator was first calling for European stations and giving a time later on for US ones. When they switched to US stations, there was a large pile up. I tried quite a few times to get through but was not lucky. The operator was working split,  transmitting on one frequency, listening on another five kH up on the scale. But when the pile-up grew too much he asked to spread the calls on 10kH and I happened to pick 8kH up for my Tx frequency. My call was answered very quickly and I sure hope I am in their log. I guess that knowing how to operate my rig, doing it fast and with a bit of luck, 100 watts made it through!

These guys are GOOD! Not only do they update their log quite often, they also use Twitter to announce it! Hats off! They really use every bit of technology at their hands to get information through. They definitively deserve some support!